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A lady sets behind a table checking people in On Friday, Corwin International Magnet School hosted a Cost of Poverty Exercise (COPE), sponsored by Mike Cafasso, President/CEO of CommonSpirit St. Mary-Corwin Hospital, with participation from more than 100 community leaders and dignitaries.

Members of the D60 Board of Education, the District Leadership Team, and educators joined representatives of the faith community, including Bishop Stephen Berg of Roman Catholic Diocese of Pueblo, newly elected Mayor Heather Graham of City of Pueblo, Colorado - City Government, Andy Sanchez of Sangre de Cristo Arts & Conference Center, Sheriff Dave Lucero of Pueblo County Sheriff's Office, Fire Chief Barb Huber of Pueblo Fire Department, Duana Nava of Greater Pueblo Chamber of Commerce, Chief Chris Noeller of Pueblo Police Department and others.

In America, 37 million people, including 1 in 6 children, live at or below the poverty line.

To address this distressing fact, COPE is a nearly three-hour simulation that explores the lived experience of poverty firsthand through the eyes of real families. The experiential nature of this training helps organizations and communities more deeply understand the human and systemic impacts of poverty.

For years, many top down or well-intentioned approaches to poverty have left out the wisdom and leadership of those closest to the challenges. Created with the input of individuals with personal experience in poverty, COPE sheds light on these challenges and catalyzes meaningful dialogue and action.

This experience challenges participants to rethink poverty, respond effectively, and partner with those affected for change.